ECA chairman Al-Khelaifi says Super League hold-outs 'twist narratives and shout at the sky'

By Sports Desk September 06, 2021

Barcelona, Real Madrid and Juventus continue to "twist narratives" and "shout at the sky" by pursuing the Super League, Nasser Al-Khelaifi has said.

The Paris Saint-Germain president was appointed as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA) in April amid the fall-out from the proposed plans by 12 of the continent's biggest clubs to form a breakaway competition.

Al-Khelaifi replaced Andrea Agnelli, the Juventus president who left the ECA after the Serie A club committed to the Super League, a project with which PSG were not involved.

Nine of the 'founder' clubs withdrew from the plans following huge backlash from fans, but Barca, Madrid and Juve have continued to back the plans as a means to protect the future of European football.

Speaking at the ECA general assembly on Monday, Al-Khelaifi said: "I will not spend much time talking about the 18th of April, and the 'not-so-Super League', because I do not like to focus on fabulists and failures.

"Together, we defended the interests of European football for everyone – for the players, the clubs, the leagues, the national associations, and most of all, the fans. We relied on the resolve and strength of president [Aleksander] Ceferin, who stood up to the midnight coup – and people with short memories should remember that this is exactly what it was.

"And while the three rebel-clubs waste energies, twist narratives and continue to shout at the sky, the rest of us are moving forward and focusing every energy on building a better future for European football – together as one.

"As you know, for the nine clubs who asked to come back into our family, the ECA board has re-integrated them into our structures with renewed commitments to strengthen our association. I welcome them back to the ECA family."

Al-Khelaifi also announced a five-point plan from the ECA to "repair and strengthen European football", with financial safeguards a priority amid the damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The ECA intends to create a debt fund alongside UEFA to help clubs in their recovery, while Financial Fair Play measures are set to be changed, with reports suggesting a salary cap could be introduced.

"The first priority is to bring urgent financial stability to European football," said Al-Khelaifi. "Even before COVID, many financial problems affected football. However, the pandemic has magnified them all. We are all facing this new COVID reality today – every single club is feeling the pain; big clubs and small clubs, from all parts of Europe.

"During the two pandemic seasons, there has been billions of losses in revenues in European football – and we are not through the woods this season either. If we don't act soon, the damage will be impossible to reverse.

"The ECA is working hand-in-hand with UEFA to put in place a multi-billion euro debt fund to allow clubs of all tiers to accelerate their recovery from the financial devastation of COVID. We know the need from our members is significant, and we have fought strongly for this project.

"I would like all of your support so we can quickly put the closing elements in place with UEFA. We can then provide simple and fast support to help overcome the liquidity crisis that is still engulfing our clubs and the communities they support.

"In addition, as we look to avoid financial trouble in the future beyond the COVID crisis, an emergency UEFA-ECA fund for future crises is being examined.

"Further, the ECA has also championed a separate initiative to re-distribute around €50million per year more of solidarity money for the benefit of smaller clubs not participating in European club competition. Smaller clubs need this extra money. This is what I mean by saying the ECA represents the interests of all.

"Finally, new Financial Fair Play regulations will be put in place with the objective for European club football to remain at the pinnacle of sport and entertainment, but while also ensuring a stable, sustainable, inclusive and competitive football pyramid."

Related items

  • Barcelona's Sergi Roberto to undergo thigh surgery Barcelona's Sergi Roberto to undergo thigh surgery

    Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto is set to undergo surgery on his right thigh after sustaining an injury.

    Sergi Roberto has not been able to feature for Barca since playing an hour in the 1-0 LaLiga defeat away to Rayo Vallecano on October 27 - former head coach Ronald Koeman's last game in charge.

    The 29-year-old has started just six games in all competitions for Barca this season, featuring in another six off the bench, and has not completed 90 minutes this term.

    Roberto's 568 minutes of playing time have also been split between central midfield and right-back or right wing-back as the La Masia graduate's versatility was utilised by Koeman.

    The Spaniard will be hoping that - when he returns from surgery - he will be able to force his way into new head coach Xavi's thinking and earn more consistent minutes, either in a fixed position or as a utility player.

    Roberto registered two goals and an assist in Barca's first three league outings, coming off the bench in the first two of those appearances.

    Barca's next game is at home against Real Betis as the Blaugrana look to close the 10-point gap that has opened up between themselves in seventh and league leaders Real Madrid.

  • Rumour Has It: Former Man City boss Mancini emerges as shock Man Utd contender Rumour Has It: Former Man City boss Mancini emerges as shock Man Utd contender

    Manchester United's search for a new permanent manager continues, with Mauricio Pochettino the favourite.

    Ralf Rangnick has been appointed on an interim basis until the end of the season, though Michael Carrick is set to preside over a third game as caretaker manager on Thursday.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked last month after a poor run of results at the end of a trophy-less tenure.

     

    TOP STORY – MANCINI EMERGES AS SHOCK MAN UTD CONTENDER

    Former Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has emerged as a contender for the vacant Man Utd managerial role, claims The Telegraph.

    The current Italy head coach, who led the Azzurri to the Euro 2020 title, is under "careful consideration" by United chiefs, according to the report.

    Mancini is contracted with Italy until 2026 on a lucrative deal but may potentially be available to take over from Rangnick pending Italy's World Cup qualification play-offs in March.

     

    ROUND-UP

    Milan want to sign Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette as soon as possible and will make a move for him in January rather than wait for him to become a free agent at the season's end, according to Sport Italia journalist Rudy Galetti.

    Man Utd have been offered the opportunity to sign Brazil attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho by Barcelona, reports Sport.

    - Sport also claims Barcelona have a "total agreement" to sign Man City's Spanish forward Ferran Torres, although they want the English champions to lower their asking price of £60million.

    Ajax are looking to do a deal with Tottenham to sign Dutch forward Steven Bergwijn on loan, according to De Telegraaf.

    - Calciomercato claims Juventus have pulled out of the race to sign Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni, with Chelsea leading the contenders.

  • Allegri calls for patience: It has not been an 'easy time' for Juventus Allegri calls for patience: It has not been an 'easy time' for Juventus

    Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri admits this season has not been an "easy time" for his side but that Tuesday's 2-0 win over Salernitana was about re-paying the club.

    Allegri conceded the Bianconeri were out of the title race after Saturday's 1-0 home loss to Atalanta, with Juventus sitting well off the pace.

    Juve claimed their seventh league win of the season at Salernitana to move up to seventh spot with 24 points from 15 games.

    “It hasn’t been an easy time, we lost to Atalanta and could’ve scored more goals this evening," Allegri told reporters after the Salernitana win.

    "I said Juventus have given us so much and it is time we have a sense of responsibility and give back to this club. We need to focus, because we’ve failed too many times against the smaller clubs this season.

    "I told the lads, we had a lot of young players on the field today, so in these moments, they can suffer under the pressure. Fortunately, they held out well."

    "We’re trailing in the league at the moment because we dropped points too many times. These players have talent, but let’s not forget that only with experience, by making mistakes and learning from them, understanding when it’s time to attack or defend, that is how they develop.

    "The best thing at these moments is to simplify. We tried the passing moves in training yesterday and today I focused more on the mentality. The words Chiellini said are what I said to the team. We are the ones who now must give back to Juventus, the players, coach, the fans, everyone."

    Allegri, who returned to the Turin job in May after Andrea Pirlo was dismissed following a disappointing 2020-21 campaign, called for patience.

    “Naturally, we’re going to have ups and downs. I am still getting to know the players, they are getting to know me, and we play every three days," Allegri said.

    "We achieved the first target by progressing in the Champions League, now we should have a little more time to work in training.

    “Things change, people come and go, but Juventus remain and will always remain. Life goes in cycles, it has to be accepted as a challenge. I accepted this challenge knowing it was difficult, because it’s impossible to win more than nine years in a row, surely?

    "Now we must have the responsibility of being at Juventus and the ambition to aim as high as possible."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.